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From Woodblocks to Comics: the Japanese impression

From Woodblocks to Comics: the Japanese impression - a new exhibition opens at Te Papa!

From Woodblocks to Comics is a small exhibition that brings together traditional Japanese ukiyo-e (floating world) woodblocks; prints and watercolours by European artists; and manga (Japanese comics).

Japanese and European artists across time have drawn on other cultures for inspiration. This exhibition traces these influences through two hundred years - from traditional woodblocks to modern comics.

>From classical Chinese painters Japanese artists borrowed the flat perspective that became a hallmark of their own art. In their ukiyo-e printmaking they developed their own delicate and graceful style that captured the work and pleasures of everyday folk. When these prints reached Europe, this distinctively Japanese look began to appear in the work of European artists.

In manga, or Japanese comics, East and West came together in another way. The traditional woodcut, combined with the action and style of American comics, quickly gained a huge following. Western pop culture had arrived in Japan.

Several works from Te Papa's collection are shown, and include prints by Hiroshige, Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Toyokuni I, Toyokuni III, Pissarro, and Daumier. Two Manga by Kosuke Fujishima, Kazuo Koike, and Goseki Kojima are also displayed.

For conservation reasons, the Japanese ukiyo-e prints will be replaced with other ukiyo-e prints after three months. These very old prints were made using vegetable dyes that are extremely light sensitive and can fade very quickly.

From Woodblocks to Comics: the Japanese impression opens on 7 August 2003 and runs until January 2004 in The Ilott Centre, Level Four. Admission is free.

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